We started out with nine and have two through to the final of the Easter Cup on Saturday at Shelbourne Park.
Wolfe looked back to his best to win his semi final and I am assuming that he will start favourite on Saturday.
But despite his obvious chance, he can’t take liberties with dogs of the calibre of Ballymac Anton in particular.
If he traps anywhere near his best, in my view, he will have enough early pace to lead up the two on his inside. If he can do that, he will take all the beating.
Murts Boher has been a cracking dog for Larry O’Rourke and I am delighted that he has a finalist, but I can’t see him winning it without a bit of luck.
Of course Wolfe, Murts Boher and Ballymac Anton all ran in the Leger final with Anton won. On that occasion, Murts was drawn in one and moved across Wolfe who was in two at the traps. At Shelbourne though, Murts tends to move in at the boxes. If he does it on Saturday, that could work in Wolfe’s favour.
Ballymac Inspeed ran a storming race to come from last place in the other semi final. For me, he is an even better dog over 575 or 600 yards and while the draw was kind to him last weekend, it couldn’t have worked out much worse for the final. Whatever happens, will happen. God willing all six just come off sound.
We are planning to bring six hounds over to Nottingham on Monday, three for trials, and three for Derby trialstakes.
The three trialists will be Lenson Bocko, Newinn Hero and Ballyhimikin Jet. Readers may remember that prior to last year’s Irish Derby, I flagged up Lenson Bocko and Ballyhimikin Jet as two young dogs of unknown potential. Jet went out in the third round when fourth to Bocko.
But Jet then went to Cork and won the 575 yard Slyne Memorial before a winter lay-off. He has gone well in trials at home and we will see how he adapts to Nottingham.
Our three planned runners, if accepted, will be Ballydoyle Valor, Slippy Cian and Lenson Austin.
We lost one of our possible Derby entries, Clonbrien Prince, to a TFL injury, in the Easter Cup semis.
Prince was a prolific winner in top class company throughout his career. He won the big 600 final at Shelbourne last year, was runner-up in the Easter Cup, a Leger finalist the year before, and of course an English Derby finalist last year, where he drew trap six in the final which decimated his chance.
Prince will join his litter brother Clonbrien Swift in what should be a long and happy retirement.
It might be three years since Clares Rocket ran at Towcester but I don’t think he has given up on his Derby dream. None greyhound people wouldn’t realise that even in retirement, the excitement of racing is still there for them.
We have to make sure that we keep the gate closed on the gallop because if Rocket finds it open, he can’t help himself. He turns on the after-burners and takes off. The following day he is hobbling around like his trainer when he has to run to the pick-up at Shelbourne.
We have the two ex-racers in the house, Rocket and (Garryvoe) Bobby and they have generally adapted very well to retirement. They get the free run of the place from 6.30 in the morning, and love it they don’t have to be kept on leads.
They generally pop up to the racing kennel ‘to see the lads’, unless it’s a cold day when Bobby is quite happy to watch it all through the window. When Nicky is doing housework, she will put them in the van. You can see that just for a split second, they get excited when they think they might be going racing.
Bobby is generally a much more laid back character than Rocket and is a bit more tolerant of Cadbury. The Labrador is clearly much more intelligent than the greyhounds and Rachel has trained him with a few commands. Sometimes he will go and find a toy and try to persuade Rocket and Bobby to play with him.
Bobby is quite keen, but not really sure what to do. Rocket just looks at him as though to say, ‘you do realise that I was once the Derby favourite?’